Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, argued Wednesday that the GOP presidential nominee has not received enough praise for addressing his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, by her official title.
“He’s gotten very little credit for how gracious he was at the beginning and end of the debate,” Conway told Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly.
“At the very beginning ― and nobody is covering this ― he actually said, ‘Secretary Clinton,’ and then he looked over and he said, ‘May ... should I call you Secretary Clinton? I want you to be happy, this is very important to me.’”
A number of things about Trump’s statement seemed be lost on Conway. Chiefly, that calling Clinton by her honorific, “Secretary,” is basic protocol and hardly deserving of extra news coverage.
It was almost as if Conway wanted Trump to get extra credit for not calling the career public servant “Crooked Hillary,” like he does at his rallies.
Moreover, Trump’s insistence that he wanted Clinton, also a former senator and first lady, to be “happy” came across to many viewers as patronizing.
Conway’s complaint fit well within the Trump campaign’s overall response to his lackluster performance on Monday night. So far, the Republican hopeful has blamed the moderator, the microphone and the questions. At the same time, Trump and his surrogates have praised what they’re characterizing as his generous decision not to attack Clinton on the subject of her husband’s infidelity.
It’s unclear how this line of argument would help Trump, who needs to win over a majority of white, suburban female voters to have a fighting chance on Nov. 8.